Jimmy Burrow joined the Ohio Football coaching staff as defensive coordinator on Jan. 4, 2005 and reunited with Frank Solich after two seasons together at Nebraska (2001-02). The 2016 campaign marks the 12th season for Burrow as the Bobcats’ defensive coordinator. In addition to running the defense, Burrow works directly with the safeties. Burrow, along with head coach, Frank Solich, and offensive coordinator, Tim Albin, make up the only head coach and coordinator trio that has been together for 12 years at the same school in the entire FBS.
Since arriving in Athens, Burrow has coached 30 All-MAC players and All-Americans Dion Byrum (2005) and Noah Keller (2009).
He has also seen three of his players selected in the NFL Draft. Defensive end Landon Cohen was taken in the seventh round of the 2008 draft by the Detroit Lions, and Mike Mitchell was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the 2009 draft. In the 2014 NFL Draft, cornerback Travis Carrie was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the seventh round.
In 2014, the Bobcat defense was stout against the run allowing only 132 yards on the ground per game holding their opponents to under 100 yards in six games.
Burrow’s defense was especially tough in the second half holding opposing offenses to only 10 points on average.
During the 2013 campaign, Ohio was faced with replacing five starters from the 2012 team. Despite having to replace five key starters from the Bobcats’ defensive squad, Burrow’s unit still featured a group that ranked in the Mid-American Conference’s top five in total defense.
Ohio’s defense limited five opponents to fewer than 300 yards of total offense. In addition, Burrow’s defense scheme accounted for 36 sacks and 14 interceptions.
The Bobcats’ 36 sacks in 2013 tied for 20th in the country and ranked second in the Mid-American Conference. Eight of Ohio’s 36 sacks in 2013 came in the Bobcats’ league-opener against Akron. The eight sacks registered by Ohio against Akron is tied for second all-time.
Ohio’s 14 interceptions ranked third in the MAC and tied for 40th nationally. At the end of the year, cornerbacks Devin Bass and Carrie were both selected to the All-Mid-American Conference Second and Third Teams, respectively. In addition, rookie Tarell Basham was named to the Football Writer’s Association of American (FWAA) Freshman All-American team after he tallied 7.5 sacks.
In addition to its ability to get to the quarterback and intercept passes, Ohio also featured a strong run defense, which held four opponents to 150-yards or less in a single game.
In 2012, Ohio ranked among the top five in several Mid-American Conference categories, including scoring defense and total defense. In addition, Ohio held four of its opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing.
Following the regular season, linebacker Alphonso Lewis and Neal Huynh both received All-MAC Third Team honors. Lewis finished the year with 61 tackles, which ranked second on the team. Huynh received all-league recognition after he paced the team with 8.0 tackles for loss. Huynh would later go on to sign a professional contract with the Atlanta Falcons.
In the 2012 Advocare V100 Independence Bowl, Burrow’s defensive scheme held Louisiana-Monroe to season lows in total offense (314 yards) and points (14). Coming into the contest, the Warhawks had averaged 442.7 yards of total offense and 35.5 points per game.
Under Burrow’s direction in 2011, the Bobcats had the Mid-American Conference’s second best scoring defense, limiting opponents to just 22.1 points per game. Burrow’s defensive game plans also limited opponents to fewer than 100 yards in five games, including the 2011 season-opener where the Bobcats held New Mexico State to just six yards rushing.
Burrow’s 2011 unit finished the year ranked among the league’s top five in six different defensive categories and led the league in interceptions, finishing the year with 15 picks. Following the year, four Bobcats would go on to receive All-MAC recognition.
In 2010, Ohio’s defense finished third in the MAC in rush defense (104.1) and rushing touchdowns allowed (nine). Burrow’s unit also ranked fourth in opponents’ first downs (134) and scoring defense (19.1) while finishing fifth in sacks (14).
Ohio’s defense burst onto the national scene by forcing 37 turnovers, a total that tied for tops nationally back in 2009. The Bobcats also finished seventh in turnover margin (0.93) and 18th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (108.1). In the MAC, Ohio also finished second in scoring defense (21.3), third in pass defense (194.8) and fifth in total defense (348.5) and sacks (22). From an individual perspective, Keller led the league with 155 tackles en route to honorable mention All-America honors. Safety Gerald Moore also picked off six passes, a total that tied for top honors for freshmen nationally.
For his efforts, Burrow was named Scout.com’s 2009 MAC Defensive Coordinator of the Year.
In 2006, the Bobcats owned the MAC’s top scoring defense (18.1), and ranked third in pass defense, fourth in rushing defense and third in total defense. Ohio cut its total number of points allowed by almost 25 percent in 2006, despite having played three extra games. Ohio had five players named first- or second-team All-MAC, the most in school history.
Despite the adjustment period of switching from a 3-4 alignment to a 4-3 in 2005, the first season in the new system produced Ohio’s first non-special team All-American since 1968 in cornerback Dion Byrum. Byrum tied for second in the nation with six interceptions, including two returned for a touchdown, scoring three touchdowns during the season. Byrum joined linebacker Matt Muncy on the All-MAC First Team. Muncy led the conference with 115 tackles. It marked the first time Ohio placed two defensive players on the league’s first team since 1989.
A 25-year coaching veteran at several different levels, Burrow spent two seasons in Fargo, N.D., along with current offensive coordinator Tim Albin, as defensive coordinator at North Dakota State where his defense allowed a league-low 13.6 points and 285.0 yards per game in 2004. Two members of his defense were named first-team All-Great West Football Conference, while three earned second-team honors. The I-AA Bisons finished 2004 ranked 24th in the nation.
Burrow served as a graduate assistant coach at Nebraska for two seasons (2001-02) before moving to North Dakota State with Husker defensive coordinator Craig Bohl, who took over at the helm of the Bison program.
Before his stint at Nebraska, Burrow was head football coach at Ames High School (Iowa) for two years (1999-2000) and was an assistant coach at that same high school for four years prior to that (1995-98). Burrow also served as assistant head coach of the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League during that same six-year time period.
Burrow began his coaching career in 1981 at Washington State, where he spent one year as tight ends coach before moving to the defensive backfield for the next five. He joined the Iowa State staff as secondary coach in 1987, spending eight years with the Cyclones. For his last season (1994), Burrow was elevated to co-defensive coordinator. Burrow moved to the sideline after a successful playing career both at the collegiate and professional levels. He was a second-team All-Big Eight defensive back at Nebraska, prompting the Green Bay Packers to choose him in the eighth round of the 1976 draft. Burrow, an Academic All-Big Eight selection, helped the Cornhuskers to the 1975 league title.
Burrow went on to play five years in the Canadian Football League. He was a member of the Montreal Alouettes from 1977-79, helping the squad to three Grey Cup finals, including the 1977 title. He was a CFL Eastern Conference All-Star in 1978 and 1979. Burrow finished the 1980 season with the Calgary Stampeders, and played the 1981 season with the Ottawa Rough Riders. A native of Amory, Miss., Burrow graduated with a bachelor’s of science in education from Nebraska in 1976, and he earned a master’s in education from Washington State in 1981.
Burrow and his wife, Robin, have one son, Joey. Burrow also has two other sons, Jamie and Dan, both of whom played football at Nebraska.